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From the Neighborhood Press

Planning a Summer Party: considering seniors

It’s hot out in Oklahoma City. The sun is shining, the pool looks so inviting and of course, it’s almost the 4th of July. Summertime parties are fun and families are beginning to include their senior relatives in their family gatherings after a rather lengthy Covid-19 pandemic. And seniors are excited to get out and about again. Remember to include Grandma or Grandpa for some summertime fun as you celebrate July 4th, a favorite American holiday! Here are some ideas to consider when inviting your elderly loved ones to your next party. With just a few extra details to add comfort and a safe environment, you’ll be able to host seniors with ease.

Senior appropriate. Make sure your family event or party will be appropriate for your senior. Loud noises, too much commotion or pets may make your senior uncomfortable, especially if your loved one requires memory care due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Talk to their caregivers and see what level of tolerance they might have to a new environment. Watching fireworks or petting the family dog may just bring them some extra joy.

Comfort

If your party is outdoors, consider providing your senior with as much comfort as possible. A padded deck chair, the ability to sit in the shade and the opportunity to easily access a bathroom are all things to keep in mind. In the summer heat, it’s important to stay hydrated too. Many elderly people are no longer mobile, so make sure hydrating drinks are readily available to them. And if there is any sun exposure, be sure to offer them some skin sensitive sunscreen!

Limit party size. Although vaccinations are readily available and pandemic restrictions have been largely lifted, it’s important to remember that there are still health considerations to keep in mind. Make sure guests attending your party are aware of any seniors who will be part of the event. Ask guests to make sure they are healthy and consider asking everyone to take a Covid-19 test prior to the event. Limiting your party size to just a few guests can help limit the exposure too. Summertime presents the opportunity to host parties outdoors, which can also help with exposure. Make sure to keep sick kids away from your senior as well.

Include food they’ll love. There is nothing like hamburgers or hotdogs straight off the backyard grill. Your senior likely has memories of summertime dinners, and everyone may have a different idea of what they enjoy. Does your senior come from the South? Or perhaps the Southwest? They may have some favorite dishes they used to enjoy. Ask them what their favorite pie or ice cream is!

Consider time. Your loved one may be used to their assisted living community’s schedule with the opportunity to rest as needed. Or they may be in the care of a nursing home and are no longer used to being out and about. Caregivers can offer some advice here and tell you if they tire quickly or are usually up for all of the social gatherings and events at their senior community. Have a plan B in case your loved one needs to go home an rest earlier than you had planned for. They’ll need a ride as well as some packed up leftovers of their favorite pie!

After the party is over, reach out to your senior and spend some time remembering the good times. If they enjoyed your party, consider planning another one especially for them before summer is over. They’ll look forward to it and you’ll be able to gage better how to make their next visit even more enjoyable! Be sure to take pictures to share with them.

Seniors look forward to spending time with family, sharing good food and being surrounded by love. If your senior has the opportunity to live in an assisted living home or other type of senior living community, they likely enjoy socializing with their friends every day during community events. But something a little out of the ordinary involving family, the sunshine and all things summer is sure to give them something to remember for months to come. Make this season extra special for them!

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